Monday, August 25, 2014


Column: Running backs’ lost carries might be least of Kansas’ worries


Free State High football coach Bob Lisher listed qualities he liked about Joe Dineen as a running back during his junior season when he raised one interesting point that could apply to others.

“He’s elusive, yet he’s strong,” Lisher said of Dineen, who moved from a safety and red-shirt candidate to third on Kansas University’s depth chart at running back after season-ending injuries to Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox. “And he’s explosive. He can accelerate. Once he sees an opening, he can get through it pretty quickly. He’s worked extremely hard in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. Joe’s a tough kid.”

Lisher then said, “The one thing he might be behind on is blitz-pickup from the running-back position. We didn’t have him do a lot of that.”

As soon as Lisher said that, I wondered if the same could be said for true freshman Corey Avery and junior-college transfer De’Andre Mann. Probably so. For that reason, it’s possible Cox and especially Bourbon actually could be missed more in the passing than running game.

Avery and Mann have made big impressions in camp.

Freshman center Jacob Bragg competed in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game with some of the nation’s most talented prospects. He marveled at the athleticism of teammates and opponents. Asked to name a Kansas newcomer with similar knock-your-socks-off ability, the first name to roll of Bragg’s tongue came as no surprise.

“Definitely Corey, without a doubt,” Bragg said. “He can make any cut he wants to. It’s honestly amazing to see in practice. People don’t know yet how really good he is. Another guy would be De’Andre. He’s just like Corey, but a little thicker, a lot stronger.”

Barring additional injuries, running the football shouldn’t be a problem — especially with Montell Cozart making the defense account for him as a running threat — as long as the beefy offensive linemen don’t become prematurely exhausted because of the faster pace of the offense.


Joe Ross 6 years, 5 months ago

I hadn't even considered this, but it is certainly true that the blocking is a question mark. I'm sure the reality has dawned on the coaches that this needs to be addressed. Not much time to figure it out now, but all we can do is hope that our remaining backs can pick up the skill. As far as the exhaustion by offensive linemen, I've always wondered why they don't insert the next guy in the 2-deep for a play, set of four down, or a complete series to give the starter a breather.

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 5 months ago

It always seems way to likely to get a false start right off the bat when a new o-lineman comes into a game. Blocking from the RB's may or may not be that big of a deal depending on the offensive schemes. I doubt they are looking to throw long a lot with Cozart at the onset of the season, so could be a non-factor. I'm mostly worried about fumbles.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

OLine players do get subbed, you just rarely hear the announcers mention it. The way it usually works is one side of the line will sub in for one or two drives per half. Typically, the only time you see an OLine player subbed mid drive is in the event of an injury and now if his helmet comes off because of that stupid rule that was implemented last year

Micky Baker 6 years, 5 months ago

Notice that when they do write these articles you wanted them to write, Doug Cramer is pretty silent.

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